Labour moots major transport investment

VERNON SMALL
Last updated 10:30 24/08/2014

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Labour is promising a major switch of funds into public transport and away from the Government's ''pet'' highway projects, with a rail line to Auckland airport slated within 30 years.

Transport spokesman Phil Twyford said the Auckland motorway system was ''more or less complete'' and the next priority was an integrated public transport network.

The first step would be an immediate start to the City Rail Link, funded 50-50 with the council.

Labour would then hammer out with council a 30 year plan to include rapid bus-ways in the North West and South East, electrification of the rail to Pukekohe, a rail line to the airport and rail as part of the next Waitemata harbour crossing.

Public transport was no longer a ''nice to have'' but was now a must and over the next 10 years funding for it would rise to match new state highway funding, Twyford said.

The Roads of National Significance (RoNS) would be reviewed where construction was underway. Where they had not yet started, alternatives would be considered.

That would see the Puhoi to Wellsford project scaled back from $1.7b to $320m of improvements to crash black spots and bottlenecks.

Waterview would be completed, as would the Waikato expressway. 

But the Kapiti expressway would be re-evaluated.

Transmission Gully outside Wellington would go ahead, but not as a public-private partnership, and the Basin Reserve flyover would be dumped.

Christchurch motorway projects would go ahead unchanged.  

Labour is also promising to invest heavily in Wellington's public transport, including the Capital Connection rail service link to Palmerston North. 

The Napier to Gisborne line would reopen and a rail link to the Marsden Point and an upgrade to the North Auckland Line would be investigated. Twyford said across the freight network Labour would adopt a ''mode neutral'' approach to achieve the best combination.

It would review all the transport agencies as well as the Land Transport Management Act and all its key principles to move away from the existing ''road building bureaucracy''.

Twyford said the current hypothecated transport tax would be retained. Labour would not spend any less than National on transport infrastructure, but would change the mix.

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- Fairfax Media

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